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February 27, 2013
Advice of Charge Service Leverages Patton VoIP Gateways

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Monitoring and controlling telecommunications costs can be tricky when using a local private branch change (PBX (News - Alert)).

That’s why Metronet developed MetroAOC, a Software-as-a-Service program that monitors the cost of telephone calls in real time. While customers could deploy their own advice of charge (AOC) service, which informs them of call costs, a cloud-based solution offers a number of benefits.

In particular, offering a cloud-based AOC solution makes deployment turnkey and allows the data to be accessed from a Web browser.

Further, the MetroAOC service reduces initial investment, and customers need not worry about the replication of the CDR data for backup purposes. The service can be rented on a monthly basis.

The MetroAOC has a number of features. It delivers telephone call information toward customer business systems over TCP/IP, gives access to the service via ordinary Web browser and/or a well-defined application programming interface (API), provides real-time rating according to the rating parameters defined by the customer, has highly configurable rating parameters, delivers visibility of calls immediately after their completion, comes with AOC-E (advice of charge at the end of the call) functionality, maintains call detail record (CDR) data, and offers telephone call cost presentation using a modern web application – according to a white paper about the service.

In developing the service, Metronet leverages Patton’s (News - Alert) SmartNode Voice Gateway to make the service work. It also relies on a RADIUS accounting server, a CDR database and a Web server.

Patton’s SmartNode Voice Gateway (News - Alert) is the interface with the customer’s PBX, located on the customer’s premises, provided by the service provider. The gateway works as a client of the RADIUS accounting server, and passes telephone call data received from the PBX to a designated RADIUS accounting server.

The RADIUS accounting server then receives the CDR requests, storing them in a CDR database. The Web server serves the CDR data to users upon request.

A family hotel with several guest rooms provides a good example of where the MetroAOC is useful. The hotel has a small PBX with BRI interfaces, and a Patton SmartNode voice gateway provided by its telecommunications provider.

The hotel can monitor guest calls and charge appropriately using the service.

Using the service, the hotel is able to monitor calls in real time and charge guests in a way that ensures a predefined profit margin. The guest will be charged more than the real cost of the calls in accordance with the hotel’s cost structure.

The hotel can define several different tariffs for calls, including a business rate for the hotel and a tourism rate for guests.

Further, the telephone lines can be combined into three telephone groups: A business group for private customer telephone lines, a guest group for guest rooms, and a call box group for telephone lines located in the lobby.

For more information about the service and specifics about how it works, download the white paper here.

Edited by Braden Becker

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